And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Linkee-poo gave up smoking, women and drinking last night, it was the worst fifteen minutes of my life

Monday was the 101 anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre. It is my deepest fear we need to go through those times again. I'll note that all the pieces of that struggle are now present in our modern times.

A bookstore dedicated to self-published titles opens in Florida. "Self-published authors rent shelf space for three months for $60, plus a $15 set-up fee, close to what they might spend to exhibit a single title at a day-long book fair." Although they then get 100% of their sales. Let's see how this plays out. (Grokked from Ken McConnell)

Live cam of a corpse flower in bloom. (Grokked from Phiala)

In case you forgot, how to download your Google search history. I use Google as a spell checker so often, I really don't want to. But you might. (Grokked from John)

The lesser known Trolley Problem variations. (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

Some more good news on using the body's own immune system to attack cancers. In this case, melanomas. But before we blow the trumpets, understand what this article is all about. It's about inflating the companies' stock values, not about curing cancer. "Even in the Opdivo-Yervoy study, 126 of 142 patients did not see their cancer vanish entirely. And even with the best studies of CART therapy in leukemia, two or three out of every ten patients are not helped, and are likely to die." Also, "the combination of the two drugs had unprecedented cancer-fighting potency, but also caused toxicity: 50% of patients had side effects that were severe or life-threatening. But an amazing 22% of patients – 16 of them — had what’s called a complete response." Yes, almost half the patients could have died from the combination of drugs. But on the silver-lining, almost a quarter of them had complete reversals (or a little less than half of those who almost died). That's a big ethics and efficacy issue. While a 22% response is amazing in drug research (really, most responses come in under 10%), that "half the people who take this may die" is a big stumbling block. And it might turn out that it's the toxicity of the response that affected the cancers, not exactly the treatment. However, the big part of this article is buried about halfway down, "The combination of immune-boosting and genetic tools, (analysts at Piper Jaffray, an investment research group) argue, could in 20 years make the market for cancer treatment as big as all of health care is now: half a trillion dollars a year." And the costs of these drugs are not insignificant. (Grokked from Catherine Shaffer)

A Russian may be the first recipient of a whole body transplant. I know they're calling it a "head transplant", but the goal is the head is the patient and they're getting a new body. Not exactly sure where I come down on this. And I'm not even thinking about the slippery slope arguments yet and already I think there are a lot of ethical issues with this surgery (which is mostly likely why it will be done in Russia). This is another one of those achievements where we technically could probably pull it off, but should we? (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

"As the first black female mayor of Parma, Mo., took office last week, five of the town's six police officers resigned… Former Mayor Randall Ramsey told KFVS that in addition… the city's attorney, clerk and water treatment plant supervisor resigned due to 'safety concerns.'" Uh, yea, safety concerns. I'm sure it has nothing to do with any possible nepotism (the previous mayor was in office 37 years) or racism. Having been a locally elected official, when it comes to "safety concerns", you don't resign. You fight like hell to keep your citizens safe. That is, after all, what you swore to do when you took office. But, I guess if you were a dick to relatives of the new mayor then you may think the new mayor would be a dick with you. Hint to most people, the rest of us don't think that way. But, to be a little fair to the cops, when you are fired from a police department, that is a signal to other police departments to never hire you (which is why most officers will resign or find another job).

What's at stake if the Supreme Court rules against Obamacare subsidies. It's the conservatives' worst nightmare, people actually like their Obamacare and realize it's a good deal for them.

"'I’d be glad to discuss the issue and see if we need a hearing, but it (Ted Cruz has been pushing for hearings on military personnel carrying their own weapons on base) came as a complete surprise to me that he had been pressing me,' (Sen. John) McCain told reporters, according to The Hill." Well, it could be that Sen. McCain is getting a little forgetful, or that Sen. Cruz is lying. It could also be that there is no love lost between the two of them. And the walk back begins.

The Koch brothers make their opening bid. They lay a few chips on Scott Walker, although part of me is expecting this to be an obscuring move and not a final or true endorsement. But I've been wrong before.

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